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Back to School on The Right Foot

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.

Child’s Room

  • Involve your child in organizing her room. Ask her what she likes and dislikes about her room and integrate as many of her suggestions to increase the chance the arrangement will work. Experiment with different choices to help her learn.
  • Categorize and Containerize
  • Divide the room into zones for different activities so everything has a ‘home’. Use furniture as room dividers instead of ‘lining the walls’ with furniture.
  • Go vertical wherever possible: hooks, single shelves, book shelves, pockets on the backs of doors and inside closets.
  • Use bed risers used by college students to boost the bed to store items underneath
  • The less time she has to spend opening a lid, using a hanger, or opening a drawer, the more chance it will stay that way.


  • Location depends upon the age of the child, the amount of supervision she needs, and your space restrictions. The younger the child, the more supervision needed.
  • The kitchen is a good place for parents to watch over children and help them.
  • The office works if a child’s room has too many distractions in order to focus.
  • Teenagers typically choose their bedrooms; some may or may not need a desk.
  • You can always change the location if grades go up or down.

Mornings and Evenings

  • For stress-free mornings and time for breakfast: pack lunches the night before, have papers signed, and backpacks packed
  • Have a designated area for an easy exit (preferably where you actually go out the door) for backpacks (with homework and signed papers), coats, and after school activities stuff (clothing, sports equipment, and/or instruments).
  • Depending upon the age of the child, have clothing laid out so dressing is a cinch. Use the fabric shelving that hangs from a rod in the closet that are used for sweaters. Kids could put an outfit, socks and underwear in each bin with enough choices for the week so there’s no hunting for items in the morning.
  • Have a family calendar in a central location and review the next day’s schedule. Use this area to post upcoming events.

Start Organizing When Children are Young

  • Unclutter after birthdays and holidays. It’s an easier time to let go of things
  • There’s only so much room; if you buy something new, get rid of something old. Teach your child charitable giving.
  • Allow your children to sell their belongings at yard sales or on eBay.
  • Set a good example and organize your own spaces.


Vali Heist is a Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She also writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called 'Ask the Organizer' and has a radio program called 'Organize This!' on BoomerGenerationRadio.com.

Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production.

Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.

Member Of:

  • Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Greater Philadelphia Chapter of National Association of Professional Organizers
  • National Association of Professional Organizers

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